Home improvement for the terminally lazy

I’ve been laughing at some online galleries of photos by home inspectors. (Volume 1, Volume 2.) The wrench foundation is basically what was under our house, but with wooden shims instead of a wrench, and concrete instead of metal for the pillar. The one that made me laugh hardest was the air circulation masterpiece. Anyhow…there’s a saying that hard work pays off tomorrow, but laziness pays off immediately. Well, sometimes laziness pays off tomorrow as well, especially when it comes to gardening.

Business ethics, Part 2

The idea behind credit cards is simple: they’re a way for the bank to make money. And they do, billions of dollars of it every year. The trick is to find new ways to get as many customers as possible into the optimum debt profile. The basic rules of the game are relatively easy to understand: The more you spend, the more you owe. The more you owe, the more you have to pay at the end of the month.

Solid water? Wha?

Hell may not have frozen over, but Texas has, and that’s almost as rare. Last night we were driving home from Houston when the temperature dropped below freezing, and the car showed a black ice warning light. Soon it began to sleet. Texans really don’t know how to deal with snow and ice. I drove slowly and carefully, but people who had bought into the SUV myth were overtaking. Unfortunately, no amount of all-wheel-drive or traction control will help if you hit a patch of wet ice.

Snakes on a Plane

Snakes On A Plane. You can just imagine the pitch meeting. Turner: I have got this killer idea for an action horror movie. Ellis: Sure, hit me. Turner: OK, here’s the setup…there are a bunch of people on a plane. And the plane is carrying a load of, like, poisonous snakes. And the snakes are accidentally let out. Ellis: Are you drunk? Turner: No, listen, there’s more. Samuel L. Jackson is on the plane.

Texas gardening

The temperature dipped below 26 celcius and the sky clouded over, which meant it was time to deal with the back garden. The builders had half-heartedly seeded the back of the house with non-native grass, which had gone crazy as soon as spring arrived. We had allowed it to become seriously overgrown, and now I was going to pay the price. I started off by giving it a once-over with the string trimmer, getting rid of the worst of the large bushy weeds and thinning out the grass a bit.

At least the squirrels are cute

Spring is here, and the garden is bursting with new life. Oozing, wriggling and crawling with new life. We can broadly divide the contents of the garden into the following categories: Neoptera terreorus, or things which I am scared of. This category includes anything with more than 4 legs that is over 1cm in its largest dimension. Eukaryota mortis nausicam, or things which I am revolted by. This category includes piles of dead leaves, dead and rotting things, dessicated insects, and so on.

Mailboxes, etc.

One of the things we need for the new house is a mailbox. I’m quite excited about it. The Postal Service want us to get a street-side mailbox–in other words, the classic American mailbox on a stick, with a flag on it. The kind I always saw in books, but never saw for real until I moved here. On a totally unrelated note, when dialling someone’s phone number manually, it’s a good idea to not start the conversation with “Hey, what the fuck are you doing, bitch?

So let me tell you about this house thing…

When we arrived in Austin at the end of October, we didn’t expect major problems finding a house. During our visit in April we had spent an afternoon with a real estate agent, and had seen a number of suitable houses. Sure enough, the first day we went house hunting, sara walked into a place and immediately thought “This is it.” We went back when I had finished work, and I agreed.

REAL Scary

Here’s a brief run-down of the lowlights from the “REAL ID Act” passed by the House yesterday. Overstaying a visa becomes grounds to deny a driver’s license. There are many, many people who are now legal immigrants who have at some stage overstayed a visa period. Overstayed a student visa by a few days back when you were a student? No license for you! Plus, do you want all those illegal immigrants driving around with no license, no insurance, and without having passed a driving test?

Corn Laws

My history teacher from school has been found guilty of molesting his pupils, and sentenced to 4 years in jail. As far as I can tell from the newspaper stories, the incidents all happened while I was at the school, and probably involved boys in my class. The teacher’s name, believe it or not, was Dick Small. He was probably Richard to his friends, but amongst his pupils he was known as “Small, Dick”.